Thursday, June 30, 2011

Veggie Ventures: Radish

Welcome to the Veggie Ventures series, where we'll take a glimpse
at veggies my husband and I want to grow but have never really eaten!

22 days from seed to table.  That's how quickly radishes grow.  Radishes are often suggested for first time gardeners and children because of their quick growth habits.  Nearly instant gratifcation, and all in a cute and tidy package too.  (There's no denying that that little bunch of radishes you see at the grocer is pretty darned cute!)  I very badly wanted to grow them, but with only a few radish-eating experiences under my belt, I was afraid of ending up with a bumper crop of a veggie I didn't actually like eating.  So I bought some.  Not the cute little bunch of radishes previously mentioned (they looked limp and unhappy), but a bag.  Yes, a bag.

How did we eat them?
1) Thinly sliced in a salad.  Covered in ranch dressing.
2) Thinly sliced with baby carrots for snacking.  Again, covered in ranch dressing.

Catching my drift?  On their own, raw radishes can be spicy and rather pungent.  I've read that a lot of this has to do with growing conditions and the age of the radishes, which can easily be controlled once we grow our own.  We liked the radishes well enough, but as my husband so kindly pointed much salad could we possibly eat to use up those radishes?  We were only eating one radish a piece in our salad--not nearly enough to justify setting aside valuable garden space for them. 

Not wanting to give up on the idea of growing radishes (with variety names like "Sparkler" and "Cherry Belle", how could I resist?), I did a little internet research for recipes.  And found something rather interesting.  Did you know that you can cook radishes?!  I didn't.

Cooked, the radishes take on a lovely pink hue throughout.  We were shocked when we tasted them.  Much to our surprise, the cooking process mellows the strong radish flavor, leaving behind a hint of sweetness.  Mr. K likened the cooked radishes to baby potatoes, which is a definite plus!  This alone makes radishes a winner in our book.

Veggie Verdict:
Yes.  Radishes take up so little room (they only need 1" spacing) and grow so quickly, it would be a shame not to grow them!  If you think you don't like radishes, try cooking them.  You'll be surprised at what a difference it makes! 

Glazed Radishes (adapted from THIS recipe)
Serves 4

1 lb. radishes
2 Tbl. butter
1/3 cup water
large pinch of sugar
salt and pepper  
chopped chives

Trim ends and tops off of the radishes.  Cut any large ones in half if needed; you'll want all your radishes to be roughly the same size so they cook evenly.  Place radishes in a small pan.  Add butter, water, and sugar.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover pan and cook over medium-low heat until radishes are tender, 20-25 minutes depending on size.

Uncover pan and continue to cook while stirring to evaporate the liquid down to a glaze consistency, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with chopped chives.


After I used up all the radishes, I did a bit more internet sleuthing.  It seems like a lot of folks really enjoy eating them like the French do: with plenty of butter and salt, on bread.  Mmm...butter, salt, and bread.  My three favorite things.  I will definitely have to try eating radishes this way!

How do you enjoy radishes?

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  1. We eat them raw most of the time. I know the spicy flavor isn't for everyone but we like it! Roasted is of course another fav....mostly because my son will eat ANY vegetable if it's roasted lol

  2. You know I've never tried cooking radishes -- you've inspired me to experiment =D

  3. I'm glad you're back. Happy to be reading about your cooking adventures again. And this time with a co-pilate!

  4. I actually really need to try this since I do think I don't like radishes, lol! I love that pretty shade of pink they turn when cooked!

  5. I've never really liked radishes but maybe it's just because I don't know how to prepare them. Might take Jenn's advice and roast them.